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Dec 22, 2014

From Baltic to Asia, East-West aerial confrontations heat up

NEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) – From the skies of the Baltic to
the South China Sea, a new era of confrontation with Russia and
China is pitting U.S. and allied pilots against their
counterparts on a scale not seen since the Cold War era.

It is, current and former officials say, a major shift for
air crews who by and large have spent more than a decade flying
largely uncontested missions over Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nov 27, 2014

West struggles with Russia’s ‘ambiguous warfare’ tactics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Russians crossed the border to fight with rebels in eastern Ukraine earlier this year, Moscow said the soldiers had not been deployed but had gone on their own vacation time.

    When Estonia was the victim of a cyber attack in 2007 and blamed Moscow, the Kremlin responded that it could not always control patriotic Russian hackers.

Nov 18, 2014

Militant attack deaths soar to all-time high: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of people killed in militant attacks worldwide jumped more than 60 percent last year to a record high of nearly 18,000 and the figure could rise further in 2014 due to an escalation of conflict in the Middle East and Nigeria, a report showed on Tuesday.

Four Islamist groups operating in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria were responsible for two thirds of the 2013 attacks and the vast majority of the deaths occurred in those countries, the Australia and US-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said in its Global Terrorism Index.

Nov 12, 2014

Year of crises stretches militaries, governments to limit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – From a standoff with Russia to fights against Ebola and Islamic State, 2014 has pitted western policymakers against a scale of crises unparalleled in recent years.

The result, current and former officials say, has been a degree of overstretch in Washington, Whitehall and Brussels on a scale few can remember. The risk is that other danger signs get missed.

Oct 10, 2014

In 2005 Marburg virus outbreak, some lessons for Ebola crisis

WASHINGTON, Oct 10 (Reuters) – When I see the footage of
health workers in protection suits taking up the fight against
Ebola in west Africa, memories come flooding back.

Nine years ago, I took a Reuters team into the heart of
another haemorrhagic fever catastrophe, the 2005 Marburg virus
outbreak in northern Angola. I saw what it took to bring it
under control.

Oct 1, 2014

U.S. sends ‘Ironhorse’ tanks to NATO’s nervous Baltic front line

WASHINGTON/RIGA, Oct 1 (Reuters) – U.S. troops and tanks
will deploy across the three Baltic states and Poland in the
next two weeks on a mission designed to deliver an unmistakeable
message of NATO resolve to Moscow.

The “Ironhorse” armoured cavalry unit, with around 700
soldiers, some 20 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks with Bradley and
Stryker armoured fighting vehicles, is one of the most
formidable U.S. military forces to be sent onto former Soviet
soil. Several of the bases and training areas it will operate
from were built for the old Soviet Red Army.

Sep 23, 2014

U.S., Iran seek common ground against militants, but doubts persist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Whether Washington likes it or not, Shi’ite Iran, a key ally of the governments of Iraq and Syria, is all but certain to be a major player in the fight against the Sunni militants of Islamic State.

Bitterly at odds over most major Middle Eastern issues, the United States and Iran now essentially find themselves on the same side in an escalating crisis over the Islamist group that has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Sep 4, 2014

From suburban Maryland, U.S. firm tracks gruesome jihadi videos

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – From an office in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, a small team scans the Web 24 hours a day for jihadi videos often featuring gruesome executions by groups such as Islamic State.

    On Tuesday, SITE Intelligence Services grabbed headlines when it found and alerted its subscribers to footage of the beheading of Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist to be put to death by IS in two weeks.

Sep 2, 2014

U.S., allies to stage exercises in West Ukraine as battles rage in East

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As fighting between the army and Russian-backed rebels rages in eastern Ukraine, preparations are under way near its western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies.

The decision to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 is seen as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine while stopping well short of military intervention in the conflict.

Aug 31, 2014

Insight – As Islamic State fighters begin to blend in, defeating them no easy matter

BAQIRTA Iraq/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After their lightning takeover in June, flag-waving Islamic State militants paraded through the captured Iraqi city of Mosul in looted U.S.-built Humvees, armoured cars and pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns.

Today, many have ditched military-type vehicles that could make them easy targets of U.S. air strikes, and try to blend in with residents, say witnesses. While still terrifying, they are now a far more discreet force.

    • About Peter

      "Peter Apps is Reuters global defence correspondent, currently on sabbatical as executive director of the Project for Study of the 21st Century (PS21):"
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